On June 17, 2018, the New York Times printed an editorial about Racism titled “The Racist Trope that Won’t Die.” The author, Brent Staples, called out Rosanne Barr for resurrecting a slander against a Black advisor to President Barack Obama “as the offspring of an ape.”
Staples described how the accusation of blacks being descendants of apes was originally promoted by slave traders and historians to justify slavery and lynchings. While such attitude “has been pushed to the margins of the public square,” according to Staples, “it has maintained a pernicious grip on the American imagination.”
Staples would go on to illustrate how Black people were more likely to be convicted of a crime, receive a longer sentence, and were more likely to be shot even if unarmed compared to White people. He argued that the “pernicious grip” of imagining a Black man as an animal accounted for the disparity and injustice befalling people of color.
Needless to say, Staples was happy about ABC’s cancellation of the Rosanne Barr show, but he viewed the sentiment of the Barr comment as much deeper and systemic in the American pysche.
“centuries of institutionalized racism – and the dehumanization of black people upon which it relied – have left an indelible imprint on how Americans process blackness.
“The notion that the country might somehow move past this deeply complex, historically layered issue by assuming an attitude of “color blindness” is naive. The only real hope of doing that is to openly confront and talk about the powerful, but submerged, forms of discrimination that have long since supplanted the undisguised version.”
Staples essentially said that all Americans have a variety of racism, some are just more disguised. The quick dismissal of Barr was appropriate, but a simple tonic. Americans need to have a deeper conversation about race.
Now imagine the same situation as described above ratcheted up by many decibels to an entirely new deafening level:
- Imagine that it wasn’t a solitary hated black person being called an ape, but all black people being disparaged
- Imagine the person making such accusation was not a comedian, but a prophet
- Imagine society not shutting down the comedian, but echoing the vile words for everyone to hear across the world
- Imagine that the racism is not even discussed
That is Islamic anti-Semitism.
The root of Islamic antisemitism is regrettably found in Islam’s holiest text, the Quran:
- Surah 5:59-60: “Say, “O People of the Scripture [Jews], do you resent us except [for the fact] that we have believed in Allah and what was revealed to us and what was revealed before and because most of you are defiantly disobedient? Say, “Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that as penalty from Allah ? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of Taghut. Those are worse in position and further astray from the sound way.“
- Surah 7:166: “So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, “Be apes, despised.“”
- Surah 2:65: “And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”“
These are unfortunate verses. But it is also important to note that many verses in the Bible can also be read in a very unfavorable light. Many moderate Muslims today do NOT believe that the Islamic prophet Mohammed despised all Jews and that the sentences are not to be read literally. However, there are many powerful Muslims throughout the world that do hold such antisemitic views.
Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI list several examples of Muslim clerics and leaders calling Jews the “sons of apes and pigs.”
- Former President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi in September 2010: “No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.“
- Sheikh Taleb Al-Silwadi in the Palestinian Authority Daily in December 2012 wrote “the strong Jihad fighter, adhering to its religion and faith, challenging the tyranny and oppression of the Zionists, those descendants of monkeys and pigs who thought they could deny us our strength.”
- Teacher on official PA TV September 2013: “The Israeli occupation authorities lock the Al-Aqsa Mosque from morning until afternoon. At this time, the assistants of the monkeys and pigs (i.e., Jews) and the herds of settlers can enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque (i.e., Temple Mount plaza) without anything stopping them.”
- Poet on official Palestinian Authority TV September 2014: “O, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets; You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship
O Sons of Zion, O most evil among creations; O barbaric apes, O wretched pigs“
- Danish imam Mohammed al-Khaled Samha in October 2014: “How can we – or any free Muslim with faith in his heart – accept the division of Palestine between [the Palestinians] and a gang of Jews, the offspring of apes and pigs?“
- Jordanian preacher Ibrahim al-Namarna in November 2014: “Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and the Shiites. Oh Allah, destroy the Jews, for they cannot contend with you. Oh Allah, elevate the Al-Aqsa Mosque until Judgment Day. Oh Allah, elevate the Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Judgment Day. Expel the brothers of apes and pigs from Palestine in humiliation and degradation.“
- PA cleric on official Palestinian Authority TV January 2015: “Many Muslims are being harmed these days by a group whose hearts were sealed by Allah. ‘He made of them [Jews] apes and pigs and slaves of deities“
- Girl on official Palestinian Authority TV May 2015: “Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets; Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood; Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations; Oh barbaric monkeys.“
- Sheikh Muhammad Abu Sa’ada in October 2015: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque awaits its Mujahideen, and its Martyrdom-seekers. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is waiting, and it knows that even if the occupier desecrates the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the heroes of Gaza are making preparations and are digging tunnels that lead to Al-Aqsa, and one day they will emerge in the [Al-Aqsa Mosque] plaza, the streets, and alleys, and proclaim: Allah is great! And will announce general mobilization against the brothers of apes and pigs“
- Official spokesperson for Fatah, Raafat Alayan said in November 2015: “we have succeeded in preventing 80% of the settlers, the sons of apes and pigs from walking around the Old City [of Jerusalem].“
- A terrorist who murdered three Israelis in 2017 left a will calling “You, the sons of apes and pigs – if you do not open the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, I am certain that after me will come a man who will strike [you] with an iron hand, I warn you!“
- Preacher in Gaza in March 2018: “we are near our blessed land which is being trampled by those descendants of apes and pigs, the remnants of the brutal, savage, and barbaric colonialism.“
All over the Muslim world, clerics, imams, teachers, sheiks and government officials call the Jews the descendants of apes and pigs. This is not a single comedian calling out a single person whom she detested; but scores of leaders calling out all Jews, especially Israelis.
These Islamic leaders are not expelled from their posts nor ridiculed by the public. Instead, their messages are internalized by children and the aged. The message is heard in the streets of Europe where Muslims are as much as five times more antisemitic than Christians according to ADL polls. And it is the tagline of Islamic countries, including 30 countries that don’t even recognize the basic existence of Israel.
The antisemitic Muslim preachers of hatred are at full volume and their calls to stab and kill the inhuman Jews are more vivid than slave traders who lynched blacks 200 years ago. But their apologists in the liberal press boldly whitewash the bigoted words and actions by mischaracterising Arabs as “resorting to violence” because of “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians,” while their band of brothers in the United Nations similarly invert cause-and-effect by labeling “Zionism is Racism,” as they attempt to remove the Jews from the Jewish Holy Land and obliterate every aspect of Zionism from the world.
Americans have come a long way in the decades since black slavery, lynchings and segregation, but there is still a need to speak candidly about race as the echoes of racism are still heard in our society. The urgency is all the more pressing that we speak clearly and loudly denouncing the pervasive and pernicious Muslim antisemitism that is broadcast openly around the world. Peace and civility will never exist without such efforts.
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